In early September 2016, the acting director of the National Cancer Institute, Douglas Lowy, M.D., accepted the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Panel on 10 scientific approaches most likely to make a decade’s worth of progress against cancer in just five years under the Cancer Moonshot. The report was presented by the 28-member Blue Ribbon Panel to the National Cancer Advisory Board and is roughly based on expert advice of more than 150 cancer experts who reviewed more than 1600 suggestions from researchers and the general public.
The recommendations include:
|Engage Patients||Ask patient to contribute their comprehensive tumor profile data to expand knowledge about what therapies work, in whom, and in which types of cancer. Have them preregister for participation in clinical trials.|
|Trial network||Establish a cancer immunotherapy clinical trials network devoted exclusively to discovering and evaluating immunotherapy approaches. Test novel immune-based treatments for adult and pediatric cancers.|
|Drug resistance||Identify therapeutic targets to overcome drug resistance through studies that determine the mechanisms that lead cancer cells to become resistant to previously effective treatments.|
|Ecosystem||Create a national ecosystem for linking, sharing and analyzing cancer data to help researchers, clinicians and patients contribute data, which will facilitate efficient data analysis designed to improve patient outcomes.|
|Fusion oncoproteins||Improve the understanding of (abnormal) fusion oncoproteins resulting from chromosomal translocations leading to pediatric cancer; Use new preclinical models to develop inhibitors that target them.|
|Symptom management||Accelerate the development of specific guidelines for routine monitoring and management of patient-reported symptoms to minimize debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatment.|
|Prevention||Reduce cancer risk and cancer health disparities through novel evidence-based prevention strategies. Test and adopt of proven prevention strategies.|
|Biopsy analysis||Predict response to standard treatments through retrospective analysis of thousands of patient specimens/biopsies given standard treatments. Learn which tumor features predict outcome.|
|Tumor atlas||Create dynamic 3-D maps of human tumor evolution to document and catalog the genetic lesions and cellular interactions of each tumor as it evolves from a precancerous lesion to advanced cancer.|
|Novel technology||Develop novel (enabling) technologies to characterize tumors and test therapies to speed testing of therapies and characterization of tumors.|
In addition to the 10 scientific approaches listed above, the new Cancer Moonshot” road map includes a number of specific and special projects. Foremost among these is a demonstration project to test for Lynch syndrome, a heritable genetic condition that increases risk of several types of cancer, to improve early detection and prevention; the establishment of a nationwide pediatric immunotherapy clinical trials network to enhance the speed with which new immunotherapies can be tested in children; exploring patient-derived organoids; and “microdosing” devices to test drug responses in living tumors.
The Cancer Moonshot scientific road map further creates a vision for the future of cancer research and treatment in which:
- Patients contribute their data, obtain genomic profiling information about their tumor, learn about what treatments might work best given their tumor’s genomic profile and find other relevant information, including clinical trials that may be appropriate.
- Researchers can identify possible targets for the development of new treatments and preventive interventions, including immunotherapies, as well as learn more about how to avoid or counter drug resistance.
- Doctors have access to information that better predicts treatment outcomes and helps control patients’ symptoms and side effects.
Read the associated article: “Outsmarting Cancer – From the War on Cancer to the Cancer Moonshot.”